Friday, January 19, 2007

life without a maid!

one of the greatest luxuries we, those of us living in metros in india, have are the maids/ ayahs/ domestic help that we are able to hire to help with a wide range of domestic chores.

this army of people (the service providers) are a critical part of the daily lives of all nuclear dink/disk/dimk families. (no, i am not saying rude things about these families. these terms only stand for 'double income no kids', 'double income single kid' and 'double income multiple kids'!)

a good measure of how important these people are in our lives is the extent of trauma/ chaos they manage to inject in our usually-busy lives by their mere absence! life gets thrown completely out of gear the day they decide to play hooky. even our respective work-places don't get as badly affected by our absence. (maybe that tells us something about our respective value in the scheme of things!).

and on those days that we have to make do without the services of these people, we suddenly realise how dependent we have become on this luxury. i am also amazed at the energy levels of these people since they manage to do these chores in at least 3-4 homes each day. i get pooped after washing dishes after one meal!

btw, i am speaking so passionately about this topic because we are currently going through a lean phase without a maid. and i've just finished washing up after dinner!the mood at home these days, especially in the mornings, tends to be grim or 'on the edge'. (i firmly believe that communal prayer can work miracles. and i'm hoping you would pray that we quickly find a replacement maid! my prayers for personal salvation and global peace can wait until then.)

and this is the reason why i never ask my wife the question - 'who is more important to you - the maid or i?'. i am mortified that she will give me an honest reply!


Anupam said...

Do not be mortified. It's a stark reality. Whether the question is answered by the husband or the wife, the answer is the same - "the (daily) presence of our domestic help is more important than that of the spouse" !

The absence/tantrums/whimses of the spouse can be ignored; those of your DH can't ! Simple.

I empathise with Guru because our DH recently took her (customary) Christmas break, and the daily operations situation at our home turned catastrophic.

We decided that enough was enough, and this "supreme dependence" needed to be tackled on a war footing. Business Continuity Planning et al.

We decided that we had no option but to double our DH budget and get a second DH at all costs. And this second one had to be a person who would not take a Christmas break, but would instead take a Holi or Ramzaan break !

Anonymous said...

Very True C.K. they completely paralyze our lives, and Enjoy the next shouting or concern for there not coming as there very Importance.

Specially the last moment Ditch. You are all set to leave for office all fresh and scheduling your self on the days work, and at the last moment you come to know of there last moment Leave Taken, without waiting for the Grant.

It has always been my point of Wonder as to, how do can they do this, a day off from work, without intimation, prior notification,( and our system of Leave application, prior intimations, assigning your that day job to other and ensure it being done, so that others don’t suffer J)

And then there argument the next day, to handle two days chore, they show that with there actions and murmur, of how unhappy they are for the yesterday’s pending work. And I also am some times impressed with there excuses, which often makes me laugh at it.


Anonymous said...


It's very true... we all are extremely comfort dependent people...
Life without maids would have made it such a pain..

Earlier, people were used to higher degree of multi-tasking especially because they were primarily subjected to physical stress... These days, after doing less and less of physical labour, we tend to get tired and exhausted...Simply because these days, thought the physical labour is much lesser, it is the mental stress that takes the cake in making us less productive! Multi-tasking is a mere possibility today, for most people!

I can not imagine a life without my maid! Honestly! And I have no qualms admitting my dependency on her. I am quite an absent minded person (if I might like to honestly put it) and I keep & forget my things all over the house! Panic usually strikes in the morning when I can't seem to find them! That's when my maid comes to rescue me... If she isn't there, I seek my hubby's help!!! When I am alone at home and my maid is on leave, I DOn't even cook food for myself and usually order from outside... Well there are many more things that our maids can be applauded for!

Maids are made in heaven!



Anonymous said...


Most of your musings are apt , practical and I too feel the same about remembering dates and domeatic help in India. We are addicted to such luxuries in India. Even if all the gadgets are made avilable, I dont think a coutry like India will get rid of domestic help. This sort of help is missing in the West. By the way I am now in San Jose, California.

Quite interesting postings on varied topics are enjoyed by me though I havent reacted so far.


Guruprasad said...

Anupam - your solution sounds just like your kind of solution. Some kind of EOQ computed after taking into consideration the probability of the DH quitting/disappearing for a long time/bunking. An OR approach to a domestic problem! :-)

Gowri - I agree. I think DH will be prevalent in India till it remains affordable to majority of the urban population. Economic prosperity will dry up the huge resources from the DH pool that we all dip into!

Manasi said...

am glad you wrote about this issue because i have been seriously thinking about making my future home in india completely maid free, hence more gadgets...

as a humble beginner on the home-setting scene, i am going to take the side for the can-do-without-maids... i feel that its also the atmosphere of growing up makes a big difference in our reliance/dependence on domestic help.

then again, today with our progressively nuclear lifestyles where hubby+biwi spend minimal time at home, someone else has to spend the time to regain order in the ever-spreading chaos in the house. how wonderful would it be if we all were disciplined enough to begin with :-)